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Spring Fling Journal -Chapter 4-

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Freya in the SandFreya continues her journey, sailing south along the western shore of Vancouver Island. This coast has five major sounds cutting into tall snow-capped mountains, and has a generous scattering of islets and coves to explore. It is difficult to access most of this coast; few people live here and the wildlife is abundant.

Sea Otter Cove and Lowrie Beach

Sea Otter Cove
Two residents of Sea Otter Cove

Our first morning on the west coast was calm and sunny. Sea Otter Cove is quite large but very shallow. There are drying flats at the head of the bay that seem to go on forever when the tide is out, especially when you are carrying a dinghy over it! Foolishly, we went exploring without checking the tide table and so hauled the sucker waaaayyy farther up than we needed to.

Gelatinous Goo (with eggs?) floating in bog, a bit bigger than a softball

The biggest attraction of this bay is the fabulous beach in the nearby Lowrie Bay. Perhaps we appreciated it even more because of the work to get to it. Our guidebook describes the trail to the beach as primitive – a more accurate description would simply be “wet, muddy, wet, boggy,” and did I say wet?

Bog Stick
Slogging through bog: the stick's dark water mark shows how deep it was easily plunged into a solid-looking patch

The Bog Slog became an interesting challenge, and we were doing fairly well until Bjarne stepped onto a solid looking patch and practically disappeared! OK, he was immersed up to his thigh but well stuck. This wasn't a good time to remember the bear tracks and droppings we had seen along the way, nor to think about the bear

Burl Tree
Loved this tree, warts and all...

spray we had left on the boat, unless one considers motivation for getting out. After tossing his gear over to a firmer patch, a nearby bush provided an anchor for him to pull himself out. After Bjarne had cleverly discovered what Lightning Sand patches looked like, we were able to avoid them (a Princess Bride reference), but continued to watch out for BOUSes (Bears of Unusual Size – sorry, another PB reference). On the way back, we carried armfuls of driftwood planks to add to the other helpful bridges we found along the way – a drop in the bucket so to speak but drops do add up.

On to Lowrie beach! 45 minutes tramping rewarded us with this beautiful, rugged gem:

Lowrie Beach

Lowrie Beach

Lowrie Beach

Lowrie Beach

Bear TracksPacific swell brings in lots of flotsam and jetsam to keep happy beachcombers occupied. There is nothing quite like the feel of warm sand on bare feet. Speaking of bare feet, or actually bear feet, other tracks showed we weren't the only ones who liked it.

Cape Scott Trail HutLowrie beach is in Cape Scott Provincial Park so hikers also make their way here. The nearby military station, CFS Holberg, built this little hut for weary travellers. It has a wood stove, firewood, two bunks, propane bottles, assorted small supplies, and even a couple of mickies with a few ounces of the good stuff. Grafitti on the walls told many stories, including appreciation for the luxury of a dry place. One group noted they were hiding out from bears. Others commented on how great the hiking had been, all except for 11 year old Alison who wrote, “hated the hike!”

Scenes from Quatsino Sound

Quatsino Sound Lighthouse
Quatsino Sound Lighthouse

Gooding Cove, Quatsino Sunset
No one who knows us would believe this was a sunrise. Sunset from Gooding Cove – Quatsino Sound

Grant Bay, Quatsino
Freya in Grant Bay, Quatsino Sound

Trees, Quatsino Sound
The Good

Clearcut, Quatsino Sound
The Bad

Bear Poo
The Ugly (bear poop -not sure why Bjarne wanted a picture of this)

Salmon Berries
First Berries of the Season!

BJ splicing
Not all is play – Bjarne splicing the jib halyard to move the wear points

Leaving Quatsino Sound


Radio is always nice to have – in addition to music's entertainment value, we have a small desire to keep abreast of what's happening in the world. This past week spent poking Freya's bow into various coves along the top of the Island has been interesting from the radio reception point of view. Various AM music stations from the lower mainland have faded in and out, but for one station the reception has invariably been fine. Curiously, it specializes in 'all traffic, all the time' with not a jot of music. What exactly we would do with endless traffic reports for Vancouver while anchored 300 miles away I have no idea. Laugh, perhaps...


We loved these ducks' hairdos! What having kids will do for you – one parent was unable to fly because it had a cute, fuzzy passenger clinging to its back.

Sea Otter
Sea Otters are the cutest critters, and very hungry too. When not lazing in a kelp bed, the otter would dive down every few minutes and surface with a crab or clam, and noisily enjoy the seafood.

Sea Otter
River otters tend to swim on their stomachs, whereas Sea otters usually float on their backs. Grey whiskers also seem more prominent on the sea otters.

Wolf on a morning stroll across the beach at Gooding Cove (fortunately we were on Freya)

Tufted Puffin
Tufted Puffin! We saw quite a few of these as we were leaving Brooks Bay

Bald Eagle
Can you have too many eagle pictures? Klaskish Basin was graced with many of these elegant birds

Three Eagles
More eagles, at Walter's Cove in Kyoquot Sound

Wolf Prints
To our untrained eyes, these wolf(?) tracks looked pretty fresh

Not sure whose eggs these are – each egg was about 2 or 3 mm across


Quatsino Flowers
Grant Bay

Ferns at Quatsino Sound

Indian Paintbrush flowers often seen on the beaches, growing amongst the driftwood

Chocolate Lily
Chocolate lily in Klaskish Basin


Shed 4 Driftwood
Tangle of driftwood on Shed 4 beach near Columbia Cove.